Do you find your prayer life has grown redundant? Do you grow tired of saying “the same old thing about the same old things*” when you pray?
I felt like I had that problem for a span of time a couple of years ago.
I can remember going on prayer walks at night while I attended Bible College. It was great exercise, both physically and spiritually! But, I hit a brief stint of time where I would be praying while I walked and not ten minutes later my mind would begin to wander.
Now, that might not seem like such a big deal. Praying for longer periods of time tends to provide an opportunity for thoughts to wander off. But I discovered there was a reason behind my mind “wandering”. It wasn’t because prayer was boring or that I wasn’t “into it”.
My problem was that I caught myself saying the same old thing about the same old things. For example, my routine prayer consisted of me praying for my wife, my family, my friends, my church, and my problems. And for each item on my prayer list I’d say just about the same make-up of words each time I prayed for each item on my list.
How did I “fix” this problem? To tell you the truth, it wasn’t some novel idea that struck me one day. Actually, it was through a series of events that occurred over time. In other words, it was through ordinary things that came across my path.
One of the first among these “ordinary” things that aided my prayer life was a birthday present from my wife. That year, Crossway came out with an ESV Psalter. It contains all 150 Psalms in a compact edition. So, being the Bible lover that I am, I naturally requested this as a birthday present. And what do you know, sure enough I received it!
Another “ordinary” thing that came across my path was a reading plan for the Psalms. I don’t remember where I found it or even how I heard of it, but it is a plan that takes you through five Psalms a day for one month. So, I thought with my new Psalter I’d start reading through the Psalms daily!
Finally, I ran across something in my classwork that reminded me that many of the Psalms were used for worship and used in prayer! And then it hit me. Why don’t I pray through the Psalms while I read them daily?!?
So I did. And let me tell you, it has transformed how I view prayer and how I pray!
I’ll write more on how I pray through the Psalms in the near future, but until then, allow me to give you one piece of advice. Start reading the Psalms. It’s as simple as that. In the Psalms, you’ll find a whole range of human emotions, which you might be able to identify with in your current circumstance. You’ll find the Psalms will reveal that God really does care about you, your needs, your requests, and even the desires of your heart. And you’ll find the Psalms have a way of transporting you before the Throne of Grace and showing you the face of the Savior.
Start reading the Psalms. You won’t regret it!
*Whitney, Donald S. “Praying the Bible” Crossway, Wheaton, Ill, pg. 20